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Do the Flames have the assets to make another trade?

The Calgary Flames have spent this offseason working to become a contender sooner rather than later.

The defence is now theoretically stacked, assuming Travis Hamonic and Michael Stone can rebound from the worst seasons of their careers – and considering their ages and injury histories, there’s reason to believe it. The dead weight on defence is gone; now, it looks like a group that can contend with the best of them.

The goaltending has been modified, as well. The duo of Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson lost the team’s confidence; for better or worse, they’ve been replaced with Mike Smith and Eddie Lack. We don’t know if that’s necessarily an upgrade – but it’s done.

Forwards haven’t been addressed, though. There are new faces in every position but up front, and the only real upgrade we can see there is along the lines of, “Well maybe this is the year Sam Bennett breaks out?” and, “Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau should be better with a full year of Glen Gulutzan plus an actual training camp under their belts.” It’s reasonable to expect some growth among the younger forwards – and several are still rather young – but the top nine has a glaring hole (and that’s with us assuming Micheal Ferland truly is the best bet to be the first line right winger).

Having spots available for prospects is a good thing, and the Flames should have a couple of forwards knocking on the door this training camp. But here’s my question: if the Flames are so willing to deal picks left and right for meaningful upgrades so they can contend right now, should they not go all in? Rather than rely on a rookie to fill a top nine hole – and remember, in all likelihood this rookie won’t be able to step in the way Matthew Tkachuk did this past season – why not go in for an established player and really load it up, right now?

There aren’t too many options available in free agency. The best bet is probably the 45-year-old Jaromir Jagr, and really, anyone with solid offensive potential isn’t all that much younger than him. All that leaves is a trade, and with the Flames getting thin on picks, they’d have to trade prospects.

Do they have enough to maybe land that one last big fish – and maybe not mortgage the future along the way?

Forwards

The Flames have a number of prospective forwards, some better than others. For example, I’m not entirely sure if we should count Hunter Smith or Austin Carroll as prospects – I mean, sure, they have contracts and were drafted so they technically are, but is anybody expecting these guys to actually make the NHL? If they do they probably at best turn into Garnet Hathaway, and guys like that are pretty easy to come by.

Nah. Let’s just stick with the players who have shown potential to perhaps be impact players at some point – players who probably have some trade value.

For centres, there’s Mark Jankowski, Dillon Dube, Daniel Pribyl, and that’s about it. Linus Lindstrom is still over in Sweden, so it might be another season or two before we can begin to consider him, while Adam Ruzicka was only just drafted. Matthew Phillips could fit the bill, too, but if he makes the NHL I’d bet it’s as a winger.

Left wing has a couple of names, mostly Andrew Mangiapane, Morgan Klimchuk, and Hunter Shinkaruk. Right wing has a few more after this offseason: Emile Poirier, Spencer Foo, and maybe Eetu Tuulola and a couple of the kids just picked up in the 2017 NHL draft.

It’s not a big group – but it’s also one in which you’re hoping at least one of these kids, somewhere, is ready to step into full time NHL duty come October. Does it make sense to wait for them, or maybe trade a couple of names to get someone who we know is an impact player right now, in the midst of the Flames trying to open up their window this season?

Defence

These are the real sweeteners in any trade. Of all positions, the Flames’ defence is the one to be in the most awe of. If their offseason bets pan out, they have one of the best defensive groups in the NHL already – and that’s with a number of high potential players perhaps knocking on the door as soon as next season, if not this upcoming one.

Assuming Brett Kulak and/or Tyler Wotherspoon is in the NHL this year, on the left side, the Flames have Juuso Valimaki and Oliver Kylington waiting (plus Adam Ollas Mattsson and Josh Healey, if you’re so inclined). On the right, there’s Rasmus Andersson and Adam Fox.

Considering the contracts the Flames are already committed to – and with nary a Dennis Wideman nor Deryk Engelland type in the bunch – there’s no way they have room for all of these guys, even if they all pan out. A lot of high-end defensive prospects, a shortage of high quality forwards – does it not make sense to trade from a position of strength to help a weaker group? It may suck to give up on any of these guys, especially if they pan out, but you have to give to get, and hoarding a ton of defencemen and not doing anything with them while your forwards could use some help is just wasteful.

Goalies

With Jon Gillies and David Rittich re-signed, we’ve written a fair bit on this topic. That’s because Tyler Parsons is also here to force the Flames’ hand, and he may be the best bet of the three. In this case, it’s the same situation as the defensive prospects, but with even less room.

Don’t hoard. Address your weaknesses instead.

So… trade for who?

Okay so mostly I’m thinking of Matt Duchene, who we know is on the trading block, and who we know the Flames are (were?) interested in. When we last brought up Duchene, it was under the context of trading Sam Bennett for him.

But what if there was a way to trade for him and get a top nine that looks like, say, this:

Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Micheal Ferland
Matthew Tkachuk Mikael Backlund Michael Frolik
Sam Bennett Matt Duchene Kris Versteeg

And then the fourth line consists of Who, Really, and Cares. (Or like, Matt Stajan, Curtis Lazar, and Troy Brouwer, so basically the same thing.) You put that forward group with the new and much-improved defence and suddenly that proclamation of, “Hey, we’re officially contending this year,” becomes really, really convincing.

Would the Avalanche go for this? I have no idea, especially as they’ve proven they’re willing to be pretty patient when it comes to dealing Duchene (or Gabriel Landeskog, for that matter). There would be other parts to sort out – particularly so the Flames would have room for Duchene’s cap hit – but if the Avalanche would consider a package of higher end Flames picks worth their while, the Flames should be willing to part with some of those assets, shouldn’t they? I do want to stress this is all highly speculative, and maybe the Flames have already tried something like this and been turned down because I don’t think anyone’s quite sure what Colorado actually expects to get for Duchene, but from our limited vantage point it’s certainly worth musing over.

This entire offseason has been about trading the future for the now; trading prospects for another established forward would just be another edition of it. And really, the Flames can afford to lose a goalie. They can afford to lose a defenceman. And considering the ages of some of their higher end forwards, they can probably afford to lose one of their better prospective guys up front, too.

If Calgary really is serious about contending right now, and some of their prospects are determined to have enough value… they kind of have to consider dealing prospects, don’t they? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. At this juncture an established player could be the one to put them over the top right now, as opposed to hoping a present day teenager will do it in five years. It’s absolutely a risk, but the Flames have been edging towards an all-in status these past couple of months, anyway. If it’s possible, might as well take the plunge proper.

  • oilcanboyd

    According to Conroy Foo is making the team, if he has the drive to do so. My opinion is that Duchesne will be available all of next season if their price remains high. If Colorado as a team remains in a funk, the asking price will go down. In the meanwhile, Flames get to assess Foo, Lazar, and AHL prospects. If they all are busts for this season, well they can look at a trade – not necessarily Foo.

  • everton fc

    I don’t think we have to do anything. Maybe add a depth piece, like Chiasson…?

    But, if we could get a deal done w/minimal damage to us, Landeskog interests me. Duchene will not be a Flame, and I can’t see why Sakic would move either Duchene or Landeskog – what other players will they have to score goals??

    The situation w/Simmonds is interesting… But what do you give up? What do the Flyers need?? It’s worth discussion…

  • Jessemadnote

    I think Duchene is way to dramatic a target. I get that it`s summer.

    But I would definitely agree that we`ve got a few too many D prospects compared to forward. I`ve proposed this before I think it would be a solid deal for both teams.

    Rasmus Anderson for Christian Fischer.

    Both 2nd round picks, but Fischer is a 6`2`212 pound RHS RW with 47 points in 57 games last year in the AHL. What do you guys think?

    • Puckhead

      Is Ras projects to be a 1st or 2nd line Dman in 3 or 4 years, there’s no way I make that trade. His value should go up and up. High calibre Dman are golden.

      The best thing we can do is sit on our core D prospects and let them mature.

    • freethe flames

      Out of our high end d prospects the guy I would be willing to move would be Kylington. I would be very reluctant to move either Andersson or Fox(RHD are harder to find) and I think Valemaki is going to very good. I mentioned Tuch as an option as well WW suggested Virtanen.

  • HOFer_dirty30

    I wouldn’t trade the promising defenceman prospects, you work them Into the line up and once the prove themselves you trade the older vets who you get more from anyway. It’s a slow process but we are not in the business of training talent for other teams.

  • Trevy

    I wouldn’t even entertain the thought of acquiring Duchene. Nothing against the player, just that Sakic is looking to hit a grand slam with this deal and I for one wouldn’t want to lose a chunk of our future for what would be our 3C making $6 mill who’s going to be a free agent in 2yrs. I would much rather see about acquiring Niederreiter contingent on signing him to a long term contract similar to the Hamilton situation. Fills more of a need too

    • Kevin R

      Was looking at Minny’s depth chart & they are about as sad as we are at RW. The chances of prying Nino out of them is not just slim but anorexic to none. The more I thought about it the more I think if Porrior has a decent camp & exhibition, him & Kylington for Galchenyuk might be doable. He would be a nice add on a 3 year bridge.

      • Baalzamon

        Flames would have to move out salary. They currently have 7 million to sign four players. Add Galchenyuk and that’s just over two to sign three (one of them Bennett).

        • Kevin R

          4 players???? The only player significantly impacting the cap is Bennett. Right now we have over 7 mill of cap space, if you mean Kulak & Wotherspoon & another NHL player, chances are they will be getting 2 way deals. Not sure I agree with your math.

          • Baalzamon

            The Flames have 7 million in cap space counting 19 players. They need to get from 19 to 23. 23 – 19 = 4.

            If one of the 4 players is Galchenyuk that subtracts 4.9 million from ~7.1 million. = ~2.2 milllion. Bennett will take up all of that and take the Flames to 21 players. That leaves no ($0) cap space to add 2 more.

            What part of that do you disagree with?

          • Baalzamon

            On closer inspection it appears the opening day roster doesn’t HAVE to be 23 players; but why would you deliberately put yourself up against the cap with only one extra?

          • Kevin R

            @ Balzamon Here is my count: Goalies Lack & Smith =5.625mill
            Gio, Dougie,TJ, Hamon, Stone, Bart = 24.1mill
            JG, Money, Troy, Fro,Backs,Staj,Verst,Ferly,Lazar,MT,Freddie Ham=34.61 mill

            So 7.0Mill left which leaves Benny, that gives you 12 forwards signed. 6 D & 2 goalies. To do this & keep Benny Tre has time to get cap compliant.

            Kulak & Tspoon will be under 1.0 mill & no hits if they are up or down & interchangeable with Bart. Yeah Tre may need to move some salary which if he goes “all in” like this article is suggesting, Tre would have something lined up. Otherwise , how do people think we can get Duschene? He’s even higher than Galchenyuk.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        Montreal has shown interest in Porier in the past but I wonder how they feel about his inconsistency due to personal issues. I hope Porier is the Flames feel good story.

  • Chucky

    Bring back Hudler 2 mil and let him play right side with Bennett. He had a disaster year in Dallas so should want out and is just the type of player to help out a young guy.

    • loudogYYC

      You may not have heard, but Hudler parties more than the rest of the team combined (partial exaggeration). He was a notorious mess here, specially in his last 2 years. Hudler’s probably done in the NHL.

  • The Beej

    Duchene.. no thanks… he is trending down. I know. I know. He has been wasting away in Colorado.

    How about Niederreiter instead? Younger, bigger. The Wild have a cap crunch. The Wild are ageing and could use a prospect or 3.

    I propose:

    One of Andersson or Kylington
    Gillies
    Brouwer (1.5m retained)
    1st round 2019 (like the author said, why not go all in?)

    Brouwer replaces some of Niederreiters goals at an affordable cap hit. The Wild restock the cupboards. We get Niederriter and resign at 5 yrs 5.4m – Tatar being the comparable.

      • The Beej

        A bit of a crunch. Not cap hell. But Duchene is a two year rental and for what Sakic is asking the value just isnt there.

        This move would restock the cupboards of an ageing Wild team as well.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I wonder if Kapanen could be had for Kjillinngton. Kapanen was a first rounder that has seasoned in the AHL. He is a right winger with some scoring ability. He could have top 6 potential….Kjillington is a wild card… For all we know he could end up as a forward. TO has a lot of young players so maybe the would part with him for an organizational need.

    • Baalzamon

      I like Kapanen. I fully expect Kylington to be the better player of the two, but Kapanen could be a nice fit with the Flames. Not sure I’d do it, but it’s worth talking about.

      • Baalzamon

        The only way the Flames get Nylander is if Toronto gets Hamilton. And the Flames shouldn’t be looking to trade Hamilton.

        (Obviously it wouldn’t be straight across; Toronto would have to add. Still not something the Flames should be looking to do though).

  • oddclod

    Agreed you trade from a position of strength to address your need up front. Two options… If you have a top 4 D in the kid that steps up you trade Brodie or Hamonic for a top 6 – 50pt guy. BUT there’s a whole season ahead with top 6 guys soon to be missing the playoffs and one of your prospects just might fit the needs of a retooling or rebuilding building club like Neal in Vegas, Simmonds in Philly. You can bet Tre is gonna hit a home run if Tkachuck, or Foo don’t slot into that top line at a high clip but it will be of good value. Damn you Troy Brouwer.

  • The GREAT WW

    During the draft people say: “draft the best player available because we can always trade him for organizational need later”

    Now that it’s time to trade for organizational need people say: “let’s not trade them and see how they develop”….

    Which is it?!

    WW

    • Baalzamon

      I’m not sure the Wild go for that, even considering their dire need for defensemen. Also Greenway’s a few years away, which doesn’t help Calgary’s current situation.

      The Kapanen suggestion above has me intrigued. He’s not big, but he’s a righty and he’s got lots of skill. It’s possible he could play with Bennett and Versteeg right away.

  • oilcanboyd

    Too bad that the coiler trolls on FN site don’t have the intelligence of their captain. From Toronto (of course!) he spoke about the Flames additions and the rivalry:
    “Indeed, the Edmonton Oilers captain admitted being impressed at some of the transactions completed by his team’s top rival in the always-heated Battle of Alberta.

    “Definitely. They made a few good moves in the summer and added a few nice pieces,” McDavid said. “It’s only going to fuel the fire.”

  • Backburner

    I do like the idea of adding Duchesne I think because he would add some speed up front. But the asking price is way too high, plus Colorado would have to retain salary or take a contract back in order for it to work.
    The main untouchables should be Parsons, Fox, and maybe Jankowski.

  • Armchair genius

    The only way you dreamers will get anyone of value to the team is to give up on Bennett. The Avs ask might be high in regards to Duchene and Landeskog but why would they give them away?!?! Smh, you Phlem fans and bloggers are so predictable, like last year when you figured your off season moves outmatched the rest of the western conference, especially with the top notch signing of Brower over someone like Lucic or Okposo, but hey, keep dreaming of some team willing to gift you players.

    • Bawcos

      Brouwer was bad, no doubt. The sense was there. Protection of JG. But when I first saw the contract I was disappointed (now even more so). Lucic, Okposo? Never in the ball park. I badly wanted Okposo as that #1RW but 6.5m wasn’t feasible. 4.5 was. Which is why I think if the right guy isn’t there DO NOT SPEND $. Wait it out, until that money could be better used. Most teams look a lot different on ice in March than on paper in July. P.s. I don’t hate the Oilers, if anything I’ve always envied them. But with that, it’s McDavid or bust for you guys.

      • Carl the tooth

        Over rated defence hey lolol. Hey people time to pull your head from your diapers Soilers !!! Giordano last 4 seasons 288 games 58 goals 190 points . Hamilton last 3 seasons 235 games 35 goals 135 points Show me two defenceman on the same team with better stats !!!! Stats don’t lie !!! Now listen and learn . More points than your entire defence core please please What an absolute joke !!

  • Bob Cobb

    They need scoring forwards, Foo is not going to be it, and Calgary sold out for Hamonic, so no they don’t have the assets. Forwards aren’t deep enough, Defense is vastly overrated and Goaltending is barely better, if it is at all, then last year. Flames struggle out of the gate, start to play better, but falter down the stretch and miss the playoffs by 5 to 10 pts.

    • TheoForever

      Everything you wrote shows that you don’t follow hockey and know next to zero, you must be coiler scout.
      Flames prospects are rated 10 spots ahead of coilers, so if you use your picks wisely in the next draft you may bring your pipe closer to our level, then we could have something to talk about. Yamo was voted #2 of all oiler prospects, and he doesn’t crack top 10 in our system. That’s pathetic drafting and development considering 10 years of suck.
      You don’t have #1 dman, no #4dman. Larsson average #2, Klefoot a little better than that. # 5 dman Russell at $4 million says it all, Sekera most overpaid #4 in the league as well. Your d is bottom 10 in NHL, and you are making comments about ours, you guys are delusional. Hamilton, Gio are better than anything you have.
      We paid the same for Harmonic what you paid for Reinhart, that’s funny.
      Oiler regression in 2 months, finishing 9th in the west if lucky.

      • Bawcos

        That’s crazy. I can’t believe that on a Flames site(as a die hard Flames fan) I not only created an account to comment but, also have to defend the Oilers. They have team speed, we don’t. They have the best player in hockey, we don’t. They’re D-men are suspect, ours are not. They have an good Goalie, ours is a question mark. They have F depth as do the Flames… Flames may have the edge. But the Oilers damn near won the division and are likely going to do it again. Flames=? for the playoffs. McDavid makes up for a lot of things, even come playoffs. Let’s hope that the Flames are up for the challenge and deep enough to win that series. (not there yet)

        • TheoForever

          They have mickyD and he covers a lot of holes, he will be best but Crosby is still the best. I like Drysaddle, yeack, but he still has to prove he can carry a line by himself. Talbot is great, but their d is bad and has gotten worse on account of Sekera being out, how long can he carry them? Their team speed is not better than ours, they got a handful of fast guys but overall we are faster. Our forward depth is better than theirs. Our prospect depth is miles ahead of theirs, yes most of our guys are dmen but they are worth more than wingers, so if you want to trade them for help in this area then there is no problem as teams will lineup to trade with us. Are we a contender, not yet. However, oil has some holes that would indicate they will not do as well as last year.

          • Bawcos

            Kris Letang wasn’t a #1 dman nor was Gonchar nor was anyone on Pit. Yet they still got there and then won and then won 2 more times. Chi was light down the middle. But still won. LA was light on scoring depth but still won. CGY doesn’t have team speed. Monahan is avg, Tkachuk too. Backlund/Frolik/Versteeg slightly better, but, as far Fwards goes… really? Team speed is something CGY needs desperately save JG. and the kids wich they left next to nothing open for

          • TheoForever

            Tkachuk is fast enough, hope the training he is doing right now will help even more.
            Monahan is slow I would take average but that’s probably generous, good thing he does know where to be, high hockey IQ, the system of GG where the center goes back to help the d is hard on him.
            LA is slow as hell and was slow when they won, they grind you down and beat the hell out of you. LA has Doughty true #1 dman.
            Chicago was about speed and a lot of very good forwards, Keith #1, Seabrook(strong#2) and the most underrated dman in NHL Hjalmarsson.
            Pitsburg has a lot of weapons. Kesell is a playoff stud, and he just gets no respect, lots of other weapons everywhere, but they have gotten much weaker. Letang is one of the best dmen in NHL, true number 1, he doesn’t get enough respect but majority of people consider him a true #1. They won this time despite missing him but Schultz stepped up offensively, cannot believe I’m saying this.
            Our team speed comes in large part from the back end, Oilers just seem fast, the mickyD illusion. Sorry, there was a discussion on that on HF but I cannot locate it.
            I love that Johnny and few other guys mentioned that GG came to conclusion after we got eliminated, that he should have unleashed the dmen. I expect Flames to involve the d more next season.
            We got 2 spots for the kids, Janko is getting a chance, Foo as per Conroy is getting a chance too, Lazar is another. I hope that Poirier will return to the promise he showed now that he has had help.
            I don’t expect Foo to crack the lineup, but Jankowski should.

          • Carl the tooth

            Tkachuk was no.2 in NHL possession Corsica/60 in his rookie year better than mcwaste sorry your so wrong .name ten centre s that scored over 100 goals in the first 4 seasons I’ll name 1 monahan .go ahead prove me wrong .come on meow start naming names sonny .you can’t . You know nothing . Thx for the laugh though lololololololol

      • Carl the tooth

        Yet despite there fluke start and our horrid start they only finished with 2 more wins .im sorry but how many points did edm get under there first year with mccleanan I think it was 77